I’m Mariola Ustaran, the proud owner of Food Room. In 2017, after concluding a fulfilling chapter in my corporate career, I took a leap of faith and launched my own business—with a mix of nerves and a whole lot of enthusiasm!
What began as a cooking school for enthusiasts quickly evolved into a venture offering private chef services and catering, steadily growing year by year.
My love for food traces back to my childhood. Thanks to my parents, I had the opportunity to travel from a young age, tasting diverse dishes and recipes. I’ve always been curious and passionate about all things related to food and cooking. Despite this passion, most of my professional life unfolded in the realm of business management. Initially in the hospitality sector and later in consulting and training.
In 1992, filled with excitement, I moved to Glion sur Montreux, Switzerland, to pursue a degree in Hotel Management. The world of hospitality captured my heart, and after completing my studies, I was fortunate to secure a Management Training role at the Tamanaco Hotel in Caracas, Venezuela. Over the years, I worked in various cities—Caracas, Miami, Chicago, and Austin—for the Intercontinental chain in the Food and Beverage department. This kept me close to kitchens, both during work hours and in my free time, as I’d seize any opportunity to enjoy a good arepa, explore noteworthy restaurants, or savour an excellent Texan barbecue training.
In 2001, I returned to Sevilla, where my entire family resided. I shifted my focus to training and consulting, travelling extensively throughout Central America—especially Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. I made it a point to sample the most typical and traditional dishes of each country whenever work allowed. During those years, when I had no commitments tying me down, I dedicated my vacations to globe-trotting, indulging in the rich culinary offerings of Brazil, Argentina, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, Kenya, and beyond.
After a decade as the manager of a Hotel Management School on the Costa del Sol, I decided to make this wonderful place my permanent home. I opened my small business in Guadalmina, Marbella, where I’ve been living with my husband and son ever since. Today, I consider myself incredibly fortunate to be doing something I’m truly passionate about. Cooking, organizing events, and connecting with people from around the world bring me immense joy.
I’d prefer to say “we” do everything with heart, as I’m never alone in this adventure. My partner in crime, Janne Ribeiro from Brazil, accompanies me. Not only is she an amazing person, but she’s also detail-oriented, highly professional, and shares a sprinkle of the same madness as me. Together, we can turn any dream—big or small—into reality. So, reach out and let’s make it happen!